The Hyundai Mercury Prize 2021 shortlist of 12 ‘Albums of the Year’ has been revealed at a launch in London hosted by BBC Music’s Huw Stephens. The announcement was made live on BBC Radio 6 Music.
Acts in the running this year include Arlo Parks, Celeste, Ghetts, Laura Mvula, Mogwai and 2018 winners Wolf Alice. Both Wolf Alice and Laura Mvula are nominated for the third time.
There are four debuts - Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks; For The First Time by Black Country, New Road; Not Your Muse by Celeste and Source by Nubya Garcia - in the shortlist as well as Berwyn’s mixtape Demotape/Vega. Floating Points is in the the running with a new collaborative project.
Last year’s winner, Michael Kiwanuka, is credited with vocals on Untitled (Rise) by the mysterious group Sault.
The 2021 shortlist includes No.1 albums from Celeste, Mogwai and Wolf Alice. Ghetts’ Conflict Of Interest peaked at No.2, while Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams made No.3. Indie labels have eight of the 12 albums up for the prize.
The full shortlist is below:
Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams (Transgressive/PIAS)
Berwyn - DemoTape/Vega (Columbia)
Black Country, New Road - For The First Time (Ninja Tune)
Celeste - Not Your Muse (Polydor)
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra - Promises (Luaka Bop/K7)
Ghetts - Conflict of Interest (Warner Records)
Hannah Peel - Fir Wave (My Own Pleasure)
Laura Mvula - Pink Noise (Atlantic)
Mogwai - As The Love Continues (Rock Action)
Nubya Garcia - Source - (Concord)
Sault - Untitled (Rise) (Forever Living Originals)
Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend (Dirty Hit)
The 2021 Awards Show will return to the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on Thursday, September 9. The event will feature live performances from many of the shortlisted artists. The prize’s broadcast partner, BBC Music, will be providing coverage of the event across BBC TV, radio, online & social media.
Last year’s edition was unable to take place as a live event and Michael Kiwanuka appeared on BBC One’s The One Show to be presented with the award for his Kiwanuka LP. BBC Four screened performances from shortlisted acts, while Kiwanuka appeared on Later… With Jools Holland.
Kiwanuka (Polydor) has sales to date of 122,821, according to the Official Charts Company.
There was an embarrassment of riches for this year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize judges to choose from
Mercury Prize judges
The Hyundai Mercury Prize recognises and celebrates the ‘Albums of the Year’, establishing a reputation for highlighting the work of both exciting emerging talent and more established bands and artists. The shortlist of 12 Albums of the Year is chosen by an independent judging panel and recognises artistic achievement across a range of genres.
Albums by British artists with a UK release date between July 18, 2020 and 1July 16, 2021 were eligible for the 2021 prize.
The 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize judges are: Anna Calvi; Annie Mac; Danielle Perry; Gemma Cairney; Hazel Wilde (from 2020 nominees Lanterns on the Lake); Jamie Cullum; Jeff Smith - head of music, 6 Music & Radio 2; Michael Kiwanuka; Mike Walsh - music consultant; Phil Alexander – creative director, Kerrang!/contributing editor, Mojo; Tshepo Mokoena – editorial director, VICE.com; Will Hodgkinson - chief rock & pop critic, The Times. The chair of the judging panel is Jeff Smith.